Shaka era (IAST: Śaka era) is a historical calendar era,
corresponding to Julian year 78. It is commonly known in Indian
Shalivahana Śaka (era of Shalivahana) or
RTGS: Mahasakkarat "Greater Era").
3 See also
The origin of the
Shaka era is highly controversial. There are two
Shaka era system in scholarly use, one is called Old Shaka Era, whose
epoch is uncertain, probably sometime in the 1st millennium BCE
because ancient Buddhist, Jaina and Hindu inscriptions and texts use
it, but this is a subject of dispute among scholars. The other is
Saka Era of 78 AD, or simply
Saka Era, a system that is common
in epigraphic evidence from southern India. A parallel northern India
system is the Vikrama Era, which is related to the Bikrami calendar
linked to Vikramaditya.
The beginning of the
Shaka era is now widely equated to the ascension
Chashtana in 78 CE. His inscriptions, dated to the years 11
and 52, have been found at Andhau in
Kutch region. These years are
interpreted as Shaka years 11 (89 CE) and 52 (130 CE). A previously
more common view was that the beginning of the
Shaka era corresponds
to the ascension of
Kanishka I in 78 CE. However, the latest
research by Henry Falk indicates that Kanishka ascended the throne in
127 CE. Moreover, Kanishka was not a Shaka, but a
Other historical candidates have included rulers such as Vima
Kadphises, Vonones, and Nahapana.
According to historian Dineshchandra Sircar, the historically
inaccurate notion of "
Shalivahana era" appears to be based on the
victory of the
Gautamiputra Satakarni over some Shaka
(Western Kshatrapa) kings. Sircar also suggests that the association
of the northern king Vikramaditya with
Vikrama era (also historically
inaccurate) might have led the southern scholars to fabricate a
similar legend of their own. Another similar account claims that
the legendary emperor Vikramaditya defeated the Shakas in 78 CE, and
Shaka era marks the day of this conquest. This legend has been
mentioned in the writings of
Brahmagupta (7th century CE), Al-Biruni
(973-1048 CE), and others. However, this is an obvious fabrication.
Over time, the word "Shaka" became generic, and came to be mean "an
era"; the era thus came to be known as "
The earliest known users of the era are the Western Satraps, the Shaka
(Indo-Scythian) rulers of Ujjain. From the reign of Rudrasimha I
(178–197), they recorded the date of minting of their coins in the
Shaka era, usually written on the obverse behind the king's head in
The use of the calendar era survived into the
Gupta period and became
part of Hindu tradition following the decline of Buddhism in India. It
was in widespread use by the 6th to 7th centuries, e.g. in the works
Varāhamihira and Brahmagupta, and by the 7th century also appears
in epigraphy in Hindu Southeast Asia.
The calendar era remained in use in India and Southeast Asia
throughout the medieval period, the main alternative era in
traditional Hindu timekeeping being the
Vikram Samvat era (56 BC). It
was used by Javanese courts until 1633, when it was replaced by Anno
Javanico, a hybrid Javanese-Islamic system. It was adopted as the
era of the
Indian national calendar
Indian national calendar (also known as "Śaka calendar")
Shaka era is the vernal equinox of the year AD 78. The year of the
modern Shaka Calendar is tied to the Gregorian date of 22 March every
year, except in Gregorian leap years when it starts on 21 March.
Indian national calendar
^ a b c Richard Salomon 1998, p. 182–184.
^ Richard Salomon 1998, p. 181–183.
^ Shailendra Bhandare (2006). "Numismatics and History: The
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^ D. C. Sircar (1965). Indian Epigraphy. Motilal Banarsidass.
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^ Rapson, "A Catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. Andhras
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Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the other Indo-Aryan Languages.
Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-